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My Inquiry into Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties

A Prezi presentation outlining my inquiry learning process and my final product

Julie Leigh

on 1 November 2012

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Transcript of My Inquiry into Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties

My journey to find the
'golden nugget'
of information Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties And now... for the final product The inquiry process can be a tricky one, just like searching for hidden treasure. You must take caution, because throughout the journey there will ups and downs, and there might be traps or pitfalls.

Even though you may have a map, or a plan to tell you where to go, the path is not always the same, and you may have to take big detours.

BUT, if you can make your way through the journey and find a golden nugget of information, everything becomes clearer and you can reflect on the journey and share the spoils with everyone who helped you to find it. Inquiry Learning A Personal Connection Why Dyslexia? S0... I sent out a survey My Survey Findings This was the most rewarding part of my whole inquiry Sadly I could not include all of the awesome pieces of advice I gathered from my survey. A personal connection and real life issue, gave me the motivation and drive to complete my inquiry process.

-I think this is important to note when considering inquiry learning in a classroom. Inquiry topics need to be authentic for children, so that they will be engaged and excited to delve deeper and learn more. This is Jono, my husband - who has dyslexia This is my gorgeous son Jackson, who has a high chance of having dyslexia My area of Inquiry: Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties So where do we start?

We should probably take a closer look into my area of inquiry... Is a general term we use in NZ to describe a range of learning difficulties, because no one child is the same, and no learning difficulty is the same. Dyslexia Is a phonological based learning difficulty, which can make academic success in a typical educational environment very difficult
-linking sounds to letters, letters to sounds AND... Did you know that about 7% of students in New Zealand Schools have dyslexia?
-Almost all teachers in New Zealand will come across a child with dyslexia during their career.
-And some people say that there is a child in nearly every class that features on the Specific Learning Difficulty Spectrum in some way I would now like you to use the piece of paper in front of you to complete a few quick and simple tasks for me 1. Write your name and the date in the bottom left corner of the page
2. Write a nonsense sentence using the words house and frog.
3. Write a nonsense sentence using the words bean and mouse.
4. write out the entire alphabet-backwards
5. Copy this sentence and fill in the blanks:
Up and ............ the road, all .............. could see were cars.
6. Draw a triangle on the bottom half of your page
7. Draw three circles within the triangle.
6. Fold your page in half vertically, then horizontally and place it back in front of you. For my peers viewing this online, during the tasks just completed, I allowed very little time for this, lots of directions at once, and continually telling them to 'hurry up'. Discussion time Turn to the person next to you and tell them how that went for you?
How did the teacher make you feel? Why?
How did you feel about handing in your work for marking?
What did you think about the alphabet task?
What did you find most difficult? Why was that? It makes you think... When we can see a child is struggling at school What's going on beneath the surface? Which is why my inquiry is concerned with the social and emotional effects of having a SLD. I wanted to inquire into 1. How these students feel AND 2. How we as teachers, can make school a happy and educationally rewarding experience I did a quite a lot of research into dyslexia, and how these children feel as learners. But, to give you an idea... As a person, I am aware that school is not always the favourite place for a learner with dyslexia. As a beginning teacher, I wonder how I, and other practitioners can make school a better social, emotional and learning environment for these children And the other person is me (of course), a person on an inquiry mission The inquiry process For me as a learner Road blocks
-Finding answers too early for my questions
-Finding motivation when things didn't quite go as I wanted
-Not getting as many survey's back as I had hoped Carpark
-Government funding?
-Training for pre-service teachers
-Awards for schools achieving with dyslexia and SLD's
-Getting my message out to more schools Successes!! 1. I made it 2. New contacts 3. A wealth of new learning on my topic which I carry with me to my future classroom and school 4. I think a huge success I had was bringing about the opportunity for parents and children to discuss their learning. Parents commented that their children talked about things they had never known was instrumental to their learning and happiness as a learner The inquiry process For me as a teacher Undertaking an inquiry learning journey has better prepared me to teach inquiry in the classroom... Why? Because I am now better able to sympathise with the learner and understand the processes they are undertaking. I now understand that inquiry learning is not so much about finding the right answer, because sometimes there isn't one. What's important is the seeking of appropriate resolutions to questions or issues. I can see and feel the value of inquiry learning in the classroom. And I realise the importance of the ability to facilitate an effective inquiry based learning environment. -Emphasizing the development of inquiry skills and nuturing inquiry attitudes will enable our future students to live, learn and continue to search for new knowledge in a rapidly changing world. The NZ Curriculum vision is to develop young people who will be confident, connected, actively involved, life long learners. With inquiry learning, students are expected to go beyond simple fact finding to meaningful interpretation and deep understanding. Inquiry motivates students to learn curriculum area content and thinking processes through authentic, real world learning opportunities SO WHAT???? Do YOU think? My inquiry balancing act Asking for positive, practical advice, from those living and working productively with these difficulties I wanted to hear from all the main stakeholders in a SLD child's education: The children themselves
Their parents
The schools
And the SPELD teachers I asked for the respondents to answer only one question and it was up to them as to how much they would write back. Not as many people as I had hoped replied, and I recieved zero replies from actual classroom teachers BUT, I think the most valuable responses were from the learners, because funnily enough, these are the people who should be questioned first, but are not always heard. Key quotes What the learners had to say Parents discuss what is most important for their children SPELD teachers articulated their views And schools gave some useful strategies "The best teacher for me knows I try hard and doesn't get mad at me when I get it wrong... they help me to get it right!" "I like it when they don't go too fast and don't make me hurry up to finish my work" "I like it when my teacher sits down on the carpet and explains exactly what we are doing and if you don't get it, he explains it a different way." "In class I would like to have longer than we do to think about what I am going to do, and finish it." "Be patient, one instruction at a time" "Let me do things on the computer or make things." "Appreciate that I am trying hard and I can't write any faster and that sometimes I forget what you say. I'm not being naughty." "A teacher needs to understand me to be able to help me." "Teachers need to read the assessment reports and follow the recommendations." Give the parents early feedback if a child is not meeting the standard, "so help can be implemented before the 'boat sinks'." Don't wait until reports time to inform parents of any problems Inquiry learning, Specific Learning Difficulty: So how does this all link to my inquiry you ask? Lets look at the way a dyslexic brain works to begin to gain a better understanding of how they think, live, and learn "The biggest problem with dyslexic kids is not the perceptual problem, it is their perception of themselves." - Bruce Jenner Making the connection... "Acknowledge my child for his strengths, (don't) just judge him on his written work" "Know that even if he acts like he doesn't care, he really does. He wants to read like everyone else." "Do stuff differently sometimes and try other approaches to get him motivated." "Dyslexic children are often very perceptive and can really tell if a teacher is a 'believer' in regards to dyslexia and if he or she really understands the resulting feelings and difficulties" "Don't underestimate the compounding time constraints in the classroom." "Kids love to be listened to" "They need to have teachers who are interested in finding out how these kids learn - using more sensory, kinaesthetic, energetic ways of learning" Having a teacher who allows accommodations such as extra time or reduced volume of work "A teacher who is willing to scribe for the child sometimes so that their creativity and ideas are not restricted by difficulties with spelling, handwriting etc." "They are happy when their learning strengths are acknowledged and their weaknesses are addressed with dignity." Encouragement needs to be sincere and often "A different learning style should be celebrated!" "Focus on strengths and give children opportunities for interest based learning." One school gave weekly tips for their classroom teachers, things like:
Give thinking time (dial-up vs broadband
When marking - always consider the zone of proximal development and give two doable tips for the next piece of work
Minimise copying - give paste in sheets to those who need it
Buff coloured paper, sassoon font, size 14, 1.5 line spacing Spelling is really important as this can affect reading. Spelling must be taught, not just tested!! Continuity is essential. All people involved in the child's learning must have an understanding of the child's difficulties small group teaching works well as students can learn from each other Another school, very strong on supporting their dyslexic learners offered MANY tips, here are a few;
Blue & black white board pens no red or green
Testing orally for PTA maths, vocab, STAR, basic Facts after testing in the written form
Changing fonts on our newsletters/classroom documents
Using coloured overlays and blue or buff coloured paper
Screening all new entrants (Children are flagged as possibly showing dyslexic tendencies and are monitored but not labelled at this point.)
Technologies such as voice recorders, laptops for writing, spelling programmes, phonics used throughout the school.
Children encouraged to show their knowledge in a way that suits them e.g. post its, diagrams, powerpoints, graphic organisers, speeches rather than written projects.
Highlighting half of a line in children’s writing books greatly improves letter formation and size. I created a brochure that I hope to send out to schools So I had to look closely at my data and pick out the 'golden pieces' of information. And I decided that this was the advice I gathered, from real people, dealing with a real issue, in real ways Well then, lets dig for treasure... BUMP The golden nugget I found, is a lesson learned
Never assume you know the answers... always ask.

Teachers: ask your students
Parents: ask your children What works for YOU? How can I help? Check out my brochure!! Kinalearn1. (2010, 05 26). Kinalearn.com: How a dyslexic brain works - a simple demonstration. Retrieved from youtube.com With special thanks to Alison Leigh and Sharon Purchase Without your help, my survey would never have made it off the ground
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